I’m shy

Before you start laughing, like everyone I know does, I need to tell you that it’s true. One on one, with friends, I am not shy. When asked to speak or teach, I have no trouble getting up in front of a large number of people, to speak, to joke, to talk extemporaneously. But put me in a social setting where people are milling around and speaking with each other, I’m hugging the wall. Set me down in a room full of people talking about more or less anything, and I’m silent- taking out my notepad and making grocery lists.

I sometimes think about this, but not often. It’s the way I am and my life is full and happy despite that. But yesterday I was sitting across the table from a woman who I’ve known for a few years and mentioned that virtually no one from my youth has any memory of me. — It’s true. My very best friend from when I was 15-18 years old had no recollection of who I was when I contacted her after a hiatus. My NAME wasn’t even familiar. A co-counselor at a camp I worked at- a woman who I had shared a room with for 8 weeks, had no idea who I was years later. In our family, we have decided that I was invisible in my youth. But the truth is that it didn’t end then. A few years ago, on line, I found a professor who had taught me and my husband when we were taking a masters class in Germany. When I contacted him, he said he remembered MY HUSBAND!

The woman across the table who shared a similar experience, told me that when she was a teen, she participated in a once a week sport practice and each week she had to re-introduce herself. She said she too had been invisible and shared with me that she too was seen as unfriendly and a snob.

The truth is that neither of us is unfriendly nor are we snobs (OK, I am a little bit of a snob; I refuse to waste my time with people who are petty or mean or excessively stupid)- we are just shy. So, if you see me and I smile at you (I do that a lot to look less snobby), come on over and we’ll talk.

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  1. It’s funny – in many ways I am exactly the same. If Ken and I go to a party I will plop myself in a seat and stay there the entire evening. Ken will work the room like a politician. I may speak to someone who happens to sit next to me but maybe not.

    Yet here we are, you with a fabulous blog that goes out to tons of people and I have a Jewish community e-mail update that goes out to over 800 current and former “Newburghers”. We each have a huge fan base in our own way. We both speak to large groups and motivate people towards doing good things. So much for being shy… If it works for us, so be it.

  2. Sounds familiar.
    Very well put. I never looked at it so clearly.
    Thanks again.

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